The Illustrated Police News

The Illustrated Police News was a weekly illustrated newspaper which was one of the earliest British tabloids. It featured sensational and melodramatic reports and illustrations of murders and hangings and was a direct descendant of the execution broadsheets of the 18th century.  First published in 1864 it was inspired by The Illustrated London News, which had been launched in 1842 and revealed that newspapers with illustrations could achieve high sales.  Its standards of illustration and tone were reminiscent of the earlier Newgate Calendar that had such subtitles as The Malefactors’ Bloody Register and the popular “Penny Dreadfuls”.

The paper gained a reputation for sensationalism during the Jack the Ripper murders of 1888 and, around the turn of the 20th century, ran many articles dealing with the “alien immigration question”.  That promoted significant xenophobic attitudes and paranoia amongst its mostly working-class readership of the time.  Times changed, IPN’s readers changed and the paper ceased publication in 1938. But let go back a while to the issue of Thursday 19th February 1914 which was highlighted as “Our Jubilee Number” celebrating fifty years of existence.

On page 7 we have ‘OUR JUBILEE PRESENT’ with ‘Details of a Simple Scheme to Commemorate a Notable Event in the History of Our Paper.’ All you had to do was collect 10 coupons – one from each of the next ten weeks publications; send them in and keep your fingers crossed that one of the 100 ‘Marble Clocks’ would be yours.

There were also two pages of ‘Half-a-Century of Sensations and Crime’ with brief details of 42 individuals – 6 of them female.

I have a strange but strong feeling that we may be finding out more about these as the year moves on!

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